Author and sex therapist Dr. Gloria Brame of The Gloria Brame Show talks to us about her fascinating path in sexology and what she’s hoping she’s achieving through her show. Fans, check it out:
Do you mind introducing yourself?
Sure — Gloria G. Brame (G for my maiden name of Glickstein), and I’m known primarily as an author and sex therapist. I have a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, with a specialty in BDSM/fetish sex. I was named a “hero of the Sexual Revolution” by the EXODUS Trust, I’m a full professor of sexuality at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, and serve on the Board of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance. Author of the best-selling books, Different Loving: The World of Sexual Dominance & Submission; Come Hither: A Commonsense Guide to Kinky Sex, and The Truth About Sex, a three-volume primer on 21st century sex (Vol I: Sex and the Self is currently for sale at all on-line booksellers; Vol II coming in June).
Great! How did you start your path in sexology? Do you mind describing what that means?
Sexology is the study of sex from a scientific point of view. Sexologists look at the biology of sex, the psychology of sex, the sociology of sexual behaviors, and so on. For me, certainly, sex is an indisciplinary web of endless fascination.
I am a former English professor and poet who wrote a somewhat academic book about BDSM (my own sexual orientation), and switched academic destinies from English to Sexology. The hard part for me is not sounding as nerdy as I really am. Jennifer definitely helps with that!
How and when did you bring your studies to podcasting?
Podcasting is my latest venture in using technology to spread a positive word about sexual diversity. I’ve been on-line since the days of the Source (mid-1980s) and have explored almost all the platforms for communication as they’ve come and gone. Since about 1987 (on Compuserve, where I founded a BDSM support group), I have consistently exploited Internet technology to talk about the truths about sex v. the propaganda people are spoon-fed. I’m kind of a missionary for sexual freedom, spreading a new gospel that sex is a beautiful, healthy and normal part of life.
It’s a great mission. Who is Jennifer Bangs, and how did you start working together?
Jennifer is a former math professor-turned-geek-goddess, with one of the most beautiful minds I know. I love doing the show with her because she always (deliberately) tries to throw me loops on the air — which means I really never know what may come up! Last week it was “gang bang duck peking style.” What?! Jennifer is also my bff and one of my two life-partners, I’ve been married for 24 years to a fellow BDSMer, and Jennifer has been with us for 13 of those years. We are living proof that polyamory works.
What are common misconceptions about sex that you’ve often had to address? How about little known facts on the subject?
I have a dual public personality: generally speaking, these days, I’m viewed as a leading expert on common and chronic sex problems such as erectile dysfunction, inorgasmia (women), relationship issues, all aspects of basic sex (masturbation, oral sex, vaginal sex and anal sex). When I talk to sex editors at places like Cosmo, Esquire, Glamour, Men’s Health etc. etc., they get it and treat me great. At the same time, I’ve never disguised my identity as a dominatrix/BDSMer either. Some places have an instant terror of those words and immediately associate them with danger or mental instability. One of my books was rejected by a big press because they couldn’t handle the idea of publishing an out-of-the-closet dominatrix — unless she was writing a salacious tell-all, of course. It’s easier to sell cheesy porn than a book telling people it’s okay to masturbate. It’s one of the many hypocrisies about American culture.
No one in mainstream media seems able to handle plain talk about sex. I’d say the biggest complaint my colleagues and I all have is that we are shut down and not allowed a voice in popular culture because of the prejudice against non-conventional sex and the overall ignorance about sex.
Is any subject too taboo or too hot to handle?
I have taboos against sexual behaviors I consider non-consensual and thus injurious. If sex crimes come up (we cover news stories so occasionally they do), I am always on the side of the victim. I vehemently believe that consensuality is the difference between good sex and traumatic sex. So any kind of sex with a partner who isn’t capable of legal consent is usually off-topic for me.
We absolutely agree. Any favorite episodes from your own podcast?
I love have guests and we’ve had some really wonderful progressive people on the show, including Paul Krassner, Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley, and a range of hard-working sex activists. So the shows with guests are at the top of my list. But our first show back in 2013, which we just aired on Sunday, is my personal favorite because it’s on the subject nearest and dearest to my heart, the normality of sexual diversity. It’s the theme of my new book, SEX FOR GROWN-UPS, coming out in a couple of months, and I am really excited about it. It’s not like any other book I’ve ever written.
What do you do to reach or communicate with listeners? Do you rely on social media, or do you use other channels of communication?
I’m all over the place. Google my name and you’ll find my blog, my Facebook pages, my Twitter account, my LinkedIn page, my Tumblr album [NSFW guys!], my Pinterest page and OMG you know, all over. My main bases of operation are my blog, Gloria’s Oversexed Mind.
Has this podcast helped you personally or professionally?
We just started in mid- 2012, and I took a couple months off to focus on finishing my book — so I can’t really answer that question yet. My fans seem to really enjoy it and the fanbase is growing which tells me there’s an interest in the dialogue and discussion we offer. One thing I know: you can’t hear this kind of content any place else. I am one of a kind.
We think so too! Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes! My new book will be out around end of May/early June, and it’s called SEX FOR GROWN-UPS! I want to teach every adult how to leave their inhibitions behind and learn to celebrate their innate potentials for erotic pleasure.
It was a pleasure, Gloria!